GOP chief urges Buchanan to stay in party fold
By JANE CAPLAN/CNN
September 29, 1999
Web posted at: 10:35 a.m. EDT (1435 GMT)
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Republican National Chairman Jim Nicholson met Tuesday with presidential candidate Pat Buchanan in an effort to keep the outspoken conservative from bolting the Republican Party for the Reform Party ticket.
"I asked him to consider very carefully before taking any action that could in any way help Al Gore or Bill Bradley extend the Clinton/Gore era another four years," Nicholson said in a statement following the meeting at Buchanan's suburban McLean, Virginia home.
The meeting was requested by Nicholson, and afterwards a source close to the party chairman told CNN, "No one knows what the outcome will be. Buchanan said he'd be thinking about this a while."
Buchanan, a lifelong Republican who worked in the White House under Presidents Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan, has said he'll announce his decision next month.
Earlier Tuesday, Buchanan said on the NBC "Today" program, "I'm not sure what he can say to me to change my mind from where I'm going."
After the meeting, his campaign spokeswoman, Joanne Hansen, would say only: "It was a private meeting at Buchanan's residence this afternoon. We have no further comment."
The last meeting between the two men was in March.
Buchanan also canceled a scheduled appearance this weekend at the Christian Coalition's Road to Victory Conference, where many of his Republican campaign rivals will speak.
Buchanan's threat to defect from the GOP became more heated as the result of the controversy over his new book that questions whether the United States should have taken on Hitler's Germany in World War II.
Another candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, Sen. John McCain, a Navy pilot shot down in the Vietnam war and a POW for more than five years, has said there is no place in the party for someone who holds the views expressed in Buchanan's book -- "A Republic, Not an Empire."
But Texas Gov. George W. Bush, the GOP front-runner in the presidential campaign, urged Buchanan to stay put and Nicholson is urging him to do just that.